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STEPHEN

HEWETT

PEOPLE
CENTRICITY
THE INCREDIBLE POWER OF
PUTTING OTHER PEOPLE

FIRST i
WITH A FOREWORD BY MARK WHITE
332 Center Street Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
www.KallistiPublishing.com

People Centricity: The Incredible Power of Putting Other People First.


Copyright 2015 by Stephen Hewett. All rights reserved. No part of this
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rights reserved.

The material by J.B. Priestley is reprinted by permission of United Agents


on behalf of the Estate of J.B. Priestley.

All the biblical quotations in this book are taken from the Revised Stan-
dard Version.

Thanks to Christina Patterson for permission to quote from her article in


The Independent newspaper.

Please note that any errors, typographical or otherwise, are here for a pur-
pose: some people actually enjoy looking for them and we strive to please
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ISBN-13 978-0-9848162-9-3
Library of Congress Control Number: 2014955818
DESIGNED & PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword ..........................................................................................................i
What Is People Centricity?............................................................................ 1
Your Tribe ........................................................................................................... 3
Social Tribalism and Its Potentially Dangerous Effects ...................................... 4
People Centricity and the Law of Attraction ....................................................... 7
You Attract What You Are ................................................................................ 10
Evidence of or for the Law of Attraction ........................................................... 12
Put It into Practice ........................................................................................... 14
Looking Harder at Yourself............................................................................... 15
People Centricity in Action ......................................................................... 17
The Mutually Beneficial Interaction ................................................................ 17
How People Centricity Takes This Book Further
Than Most Other Self-Help Books Go ............................................................. 20
The Big Problem .............................................................................................. 22
Religion and Its Role in Advancing People Centricity ...................................... 23
Jesus Christs Teachings and People Centricity ................................................. 26
The Sins of Social Tribalism ............................................................................. 29
People Centricity and Eternal Life ................................................................... 30
An Obvious But Important Point ..................................................................... 30
Yet People Centricity Is Calm Methodical, Logical,
and Ultimately Sustainable .............................................................................. 36
So Why Isnt People Centricity More Natural for People?................................ 38
People Centricity and Showing Appreciation to People .................................... 39
The Unfortunate Rise of Bad Manners and Insulting
Behaviour in Our society .................................................................................. 40
Looking Harder at Yourself............................................................................... 43
The Two Major Types of People-Centric Interactions .............................. 45
Why Being Generally Courteous, Polite, And Positive
Towards Strangers Makes Sense ....................................................................... 47
The String of Pearls .......................................................................................... 51
Looking Harder at Yourself............................................................................... 57
Other Perspectives on People Centricity ................................................... 59
The People Centricity Lessons of J.B. Priestleys An Inspector Calls ............. 59
Dale Carnegie and His Major Contribution to People Centricity ..................... 65
Charles Dickenss A Christmas Carol: A Major
and Vital Inspirational Text on People Centricity ............................................. 70
Its a Wonderful Life: A Movie About People Centricity ............................... 80
Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Were Made for Community .............................. 82
William Styron and Sophies Choice .............................................................. 83
My Own Visit to Auschwitz: An Experience That
Completely Changed My Life ........................................................................... 85
People Centricity and Your Personal Life ......................................................... 91
An Ideal of What Love Can Be ....................................................................... 92
People Centricity and Romantic Love .............................................................. 93
Why Magnanimity in Romantic Love May Make Sense ................................. 96
Why There Are Limitations to What People Centricity
Can Achieve for You in Your Personal Life....................................................... 99
The Raw Deal Love Often Gets Today........................................................... 100
The Ideal Kind of Romantic Love: Everyday Calm Happiness ..................... 102
People Centricity and Loneliness .................................................................... 103
The False Image of Single Life ....................................................................... 103
Negotiations in a Relationship and When They Happen................................ 107
Why Finding out the Truth of the Other Persons
Feelings Is Better Done Early on .................................................................... 108
The Potential Instability of Romantic Relationships ....................................... 109
Romantic Relationships and the Challenge That People Change ................... 111
Life Is Difficult ............................................................................................... 112
People Centricity and Family Life .................................................................. 113
Family Life and the Worlds Most Popular Religions ..................................... 113
People Centricity and Raising Children.......................................................... 115
Family Life and the Romantic Relationship at the Heart of It........................ 117
Looking Harder at Yourself............................................................................. 120
People Centricity in the Workplace .......................................................... 127
The Special Role of People Centricity in the Workplace ................................. 127
Looking Harder at Yourself............................................................................. 129
People Centricity and Your Professional Life:
Customer Centricity................................................................................... 131
Defining Customer Centricity ......................................................................... 132
What Being Customer-Centric Really Mean .................................................. 133
The Essence of Customer Centricity ................................................................ 134
More About the Definition of Customer ...................................................... 134
Why Being Customer-Centric Ought to Involve
Your Entire Personality ................................................................................... 137
Reasons for the Blurring Between Work-Self and Real-Self........................... 138
Internal and External Customers .................................................................... 146
Understanding What Your Customers Are Really
Getting from You............................................................................................. 147
Two Key Conclusions ...................................................................................... 156
Why the Core of Customer Centricity Is the Adding of Value.......................... 157
How You Can Decide Whether a Customer Will Regard
Something as Offering Added Value ............................................................... 159
The Danger of Customer Centricity Being Eroded as
Organizations Grow in Size ........................................................................... 160
The Problem That the Nature of Customer Demand
Changes over Time, and Sometimes Changes Quickly .................................... 163
The Problem of Cost ....................................................................................... 164
Looking Harder at Yourself............................................................................. 166
A Better, People-Centric World ................................................................ 169
Our Fundamental Choice as a Species............................................................ 172
Acknowledgements .................................................................................... 175
About the Author ....................................................................................... 176
FOREWORD

This book is about making you, your family, your friends,


and those you interact with happier. Id say that this, in it-
self, is an extremely good reason to give People Centricity: The
Incredible Power of Putting Other People First a proper look!
The practical philosophy of People Centricity is about
making people happy through mutually beneficial interac-
tions. The people closest to us our tribe are those
that we are emotionally or socially attached to. They are
your immediate group of friends, family, and closest work
colleagues. People Centricity is based around showing us
how we can all invest more time and effort to interact and
empathise with those outside our tribe to benefit us all with
even more mutually positive outcomes.
Author Stephen Hewett is a man you just want to spend
time with. Always wearing a smile and an aura of positivity,
he engages you with stories from his days as a flying instruc-
tor and pilot, as well as offering advice from his vast experi-
ence and business observations, gained over years at the top
of the retail world with The John Lewis Partnership.
Yet above all what makes Stephen so special is that he al-
ways listens and is genuinely interested in you. He is a walk-
ing billboard for People Centricity, as it comes so naturally
to him, as he practises it in all aspects of his life. This book
allows Stephen to share the meaning and different applica-

i
Stephen Hewett

tions of People Centricity with you to make your life, and


those you interact with, happier.
When I was growing up my dad told me to always do
as you would be done by. I suppose, in its own way, it was
about taking the time to look at the other perspective, put
yourself in the other persons shoes and see how it feels to be
on the other side of the fence. Whether it be as a boy on the
playground or the CEO in the boardroom, Ive always tried
to follow his advice and taking the time to do so has always
helped to achieve happier outcomes all round.
In the world of commercial television, where I have
spent the last thirty years, every day is about looking for
mutually beneficial outcomes. The channel needs to attract
an audience to its shows by understanding through research,
or by just asking them, the types of shows they want to see
across the schedule. The commercial breaks between these
shows will, in turn, attract advertisers to invest money in or-
der to reach that self-same audience with their products and
services. Much of that revenue is then re-invested into more
programming and so the cycle begins again. When the cycle
works at its best, with each element listening to the others
needs, everyone benefits and everyones happy: the viewer,
the advertiser, and the broadcaster. Whilst this is a highly
simplified version of the process, it is essentially what hap-
pens. This provides the entertainment and educational con-
tent that television delivers to make television one of the
very most important media in the world and a great place to

ii
Foreword

initiate a conversation when interacting with someone from


outside of your tribe.
As well as explaining how People Centricity works in
practise, this book also talks us through many examples of
People Centricity in life, history, religion, literature, and the
natural world including:
5 How Social Tribalism led to World War II and 9/11.
5 Are teenagers deliberately un-People-Centric?
5 Why you cant leave your leisure-life personality in
the corporate cloakroom.
5 Why didnt Jesus have a family of his own?
5 How do sharks breathe?
5 Why we all depend on strangers.
5 If youre good to your waitress it can change your
friends life forever.
5 Do fish like strawberries and cream?
All these and more are waiting inside these pages togeth-
er with a recipe to make your life happier.
So what are you waiting for? Take the time to turn the
page both right now and in your life.

Mark White
Television & Media Consultant
Former CEO of Channel 5 Broadcasting

iii
PEOPLE
CENTRICITY
THE INCREDIBLE POWER OF
PUTTING OTHER PEOPLE

FIRST i
Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are
born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes
are up to, because we may then at least have the chance
to upset their designs, something that no other species has
ever aspired to do.
The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins (1976)

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult


for each other?
Middlemarch, George Eliot (1871)

Scientific man cannot survive if he is going to make war.


Bertrand Russell on BBC TVs Face to Face (1959)
1
WHAT IS PEOPLE
CENTRICITY?

Would you like to have any or all of these


5 good health?
5 financial security?
5 personal, emotional and sexual gratification?
5 the enjoyment of the happiness and health of the
people who are dear to you?
5 an occupation you find absorbing, fascinating, and
lucrative?
5 agreeable leisure-time activities?
5 a faith you find important, whether religious or sec-
ular?
5 an overwhelming sense of positivity in yourself?
5 the feeling that you are a good person and that you
generate good outcomes for yourself and for the peo-
ple you care about and work with?
5 anything else that makes you feel most happy?
If you have all of these great things already, I mean all
of them, I congratulate you. You may not need to read this
book. But if youre missing any if these things, then, Reader,

1
Stephen Hewett

I urge you to read on, because this book will help you get
more of the above things if not all of them.
All I ask is this: if you do want to get at least one more of the
great things listed above than you already have, do please accept
that youll need to change what you put into your life in order to get
out what you want. After all, how can you expect to get new
outcomes if you dont change your inputs? Its only logical,
isnt it?
People Centricity is what I call the approach to life
I recommend in this book. So lets answer the question:
Whats People Centricity?
Well, its all these things:
5 a powerful, invigorating and life-enhancing life phi-
losophy
5 a new way of seeing the world
5 a way of making your life even better
5 fun
5 interesting
5 engaging
5 fulfilling
5 liberating in that it liberates you to a new life.
How can we define People Centricity? I suggest
the life philosophy of making an investment of time and
emotional energy to advance the agenda of people with
whom you have a mutually beneficial interaction who
are outside your immediate close circle.
People Centricity is a fairly obvious term to think up, so
perhaps I shouldnt make a claim for having invented it. I
wasnt aware of it, though, until I first started using the term

2
What Is People Centricity?

in my consulting work as an extension of the more familiar


expression Customer Centricity.
But Customer Centricity only focuses on customers;
People Centricity focuses on everyone. The notion of People
Centricity is, Ive noticed, becoming increasingly present on
blogs and in articles; more and more people are feeling that
there must be something in the idea of attempting to focus the
discipline of centricity on people rather than only customers.
All the same, this book is, as far as I know, the first ever
on the subject of People Centricity.

YOUR TRIBE
Heres another important definition I use here. In this
book, I refer to your close circle as your tribe.
So who is your tribe? Well, Id say its
5 the person or people you live with;
5 whoever you regard as your immediate family;
5 the people who are your closest friends;
5 the people you work with most closely;
5 if you belong to a religion, the people you are closest
to at your place of worship;
5 sometimes, people beyond your immediate circle of
acquaintances whom you see as belonging to your
own ethnic, national, or religious group. (This is
a more extensive definition of the concept of your
tribe, and applies most often in political situations.)
There may be other members of your tribe, but the cat-
egories above are the most important ones. You get the idea:

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Stephen Hewett

basically anyone in your life to whom you are emotionally or so-


cially close is likely to be part of your tribe. In practice, the most
important constituent of your tribe will be your family.

SOCIAL TRIBALISM AND ITS POTENTIALLY


DANGEROUS EFFECTS
In this book I use the term social tribalism to describe
putting a narrow focus on the agenda of your own tribe. This
narrow focus often, though not always, means being actively
opposed to the agenda of people beyond your tribe.
Social tribalism has been a feature of all human societies
since the origins of our species. All acts of terrorism and all
kinds of political violence, including indeed much person-
al violence, are acts of social tribalism. Much of politics is
in fact social tribalism in action. Wars and other kinds of
armed conflicts are large-scale examples of social tribalism.
World War Two, in which more than fifty-million people
died, owed its origins almost entirely to social tribalism.
The numerous wars that have happened before and since
are due to social tribalism, with the appalling conflict in
the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia, in which about 140,000
people perished, being an especially dreadful example of so-
cial tribalism in action. The 9/11 terrorist outrages directed
against the United States were, among many other things,
an appalling and highly-publicised example of social tribal-
ism; but on most days throughout the world, social tribalism
is responsible for other, less well-publicised but in their own
way no less, appalling acts.

4
What Is People Centricity?

The truth is that all the worlds wars, mass murders, and
individual acts of terrorism are caused by social tribalism;
that is, by our near or complete indifference to the needs of
others beyond our immediate family circle and friends.
The simple and sad fact is that people whose focus is
this narrow rarely make much of their lives. They are born,
they live and they die, and they are never or only rarely
touched by the blessing of what life could be to them, and
what they could be to life.
People Centricity is something very different, and very
much better, than social tribalism. People Centricity is all
about making a definite investment of time and effort to em-
pathise with the agenda of people from outside your own
tribe, to deliver the best mutually beneficial outcome for
those people and for you. (The concept of the mutually ben-
eficial interaction is central to what People Centricity is, and
I look at it in detail in the next chapter.)
Dont get me wrong, I think family life and time with
friends are all really great. For me, my family is my greatest
personal happiness, and I have a rule (which admittedly I
dont always manage to adhere to) that I dont do any work at
weekends so I can devote myself to spending time with my
family. Im lucky enough to have a wonderful family, excel-
lent friends, and many great work colleagues.
But I also believe deeply in People Centricity.
The trouble is that most people on the planet are socially
tribal in their approach to the world. They only bother to

5
Stephen Hewett

concern themselves significantly with the agenda and needs


of the people in their tribe.
Christina Patterson, a columnist on the UK newspaper
The Independent, expressed the matter pithily when she said:
A society cant function, or at least it cant function very
well, without the realization that people outside your fam-
ily are as real as the people in it. There has, in recent years,
been a growing emphasis on the hard-working family as
the seat of all thats good: parents battling for their dar-
lings rights and now, God help us, even clubbing together
to start schools. Theres a name for a community that puts
family first. Its called the Mafia.
The Mafia, like many other socially tribal organisations,
was not averse to resorting to murder if that suited its pur-
poses. The truth is that social tribalism is potentially a dead-
ly philosophy and a deathly one too.
The worlds prisons are full of people who only care
about themselves. Even more to the point, the worlds grave-
yards are full of the decaying corpses and skeletons of peo-
ple who lived their lives only for themselves, who never had
an inkling of what life could really be, and whove now lost
their chance for all eternity of knowing what their life could
have been like if theyd believed in and practised a more
positive attitude toward other people.
This realization that, as Christina Patterson puts it, peo-
ple outside your family are as real as the people in it, is, in a
nutshell, the essence of what People Centricity is all about.
You might say, But I do care about people outside my
usual tribe, as you put it. I care about my customers or my
clients, and Im friendly to shopkeepers, I would be happy to

6
What Is People Centricity?

help an old people across the road and Ill drop some change
in a buskers hat if I like the music.
Thats great, it really is, and yes, very probably you were
doing a lot to pursue People Centricity even before you be-
gan reading this book.
But in proposing People Centricity as a life philosophy,
Im going to be suggesting that its very much more than
just you sometimes caring about people beyond your tribe.
Im going to be suggesting that People Centricity is all about
adopting a more systematic and thorough approach to car-
ing about people beyond your tribe.
Why am I suggesting this? Simply because I know that
practising People Centricity will make your life even better
than it is now.
In particular, practising People Centricity is that it will
let you harness, in your daily life, all the positive outcomes
of the powerful social and physical dynamic called the Law
of Attraction.

PEOPLE CENTRICITY AND THE LAW OF


ATTRACTION
Very likely youve heard of the Law of Attraction already.
The Law of Attraction is a way to understand, and make the
most of, certain fundamental energies that are believed by
some to be part of the world, and especially the energies of
human interactions. The Law of Attraction maintains that
like attracts like, and that by focusing on positive thoughts
and by behaving in a positive way, we can bring about pos-
itive consequences both for ourselves and for other people.

7
Stephen Hewett

At heart, the Law of Attraction really is that simple.


People Centricity puts the Law of Attraction into prac-
tice in everyday human relations. Practice a broader per-
spective on other people go beyond mere tribalism and
your life will benefit because youll understand other people
better, and so you will get correspondingly even better at
winning the trust, friendship, and affection of others.
This is the simple but mighty point at the heart of this
book: No matter how well we understand people already, People
Centricity has something to offer all of us. Of course, Im includ-
ing myself in the us; all of us can become constructively
broader and more positive in how we see other people.
People Centricity is a philosophy to take you through
life. Its all about learning how to understand and share the
feelings of other people so as to produce the best mutually
beneficial outcome for those other people and for you.
A particularly important point here is that People Cen-
tricity matters more during dark days. There are always go-
ing to be times when youre not feeling especially well dis-
posed to other people. In fact, those are precisely the times
when People Centricity is most useful to you.
Why? Because its then that you need people more than
ever. During the tough times, being people-centric makes
life better. Adopting a people-centric attitude to other peo-
ple really is the best remedy of all during dark days, and the
best way to make the days light again.
During the good times, People Centricity makes life
wonderful.

8
What Is People Centricity?

Ive spent a couple of decades trying to work out what


the secret of relating to people and genuinely empathising
with their agenda is and how to apply it. People Centricity
has become a passion of mine, and Ive written this book to
share that passion.
It was only when I got to know about the Law of Attrac-
tion that I realized that People Centricity is the key to doing
something really amazing: putting the Law of Attraction into
action in our relationships with people. For me, realizing this
was a massive and mighty breakthrough.
Today, the Law of Attraction is causing more and more
excitement around the world. The more people know about
the Law of Attraction, the more excited they tend to get.
The Law of Attraction provides insight into the world and
human life, an insight so powerful that people often wonder
how they can have lived so long and not known its secret.
As Rhonda Byrne points out in her acclaimed book The
Secret (2006):
The Law of Attraction says that like attracts like, and
so as you think a thought, you are also attracting like
thoughts to you.
The Law of Attraction is about thinking positively and
about feeling positively, about behaving in a positive way,
and about being positive. I dont mean being artificially, in-
sincerely positive. I mean being genuinely positive.
An important corollary (or, to use more colloquial lan-
guage, consequence) of the Law of Attraction is that in many
respects, the way for you to become the kind of person you
want to be, is to think like that person now and to behave

9
Stephen Hewett

like that person, too, where this is realistic and doesnt cause
any potential negative effect on others.
This is what like attracts like really means. It means,
in its most basic form, that positive attracts positivity and
that negative attracts negativity. So logically, if you behave
positively, then your life will be positive.
The Law of Attraction works. People who behave sin-
cerely and genuinely as if they are what they want to be are
likely to become what they want to be.
So, people who are friendly attract friends, people who
are loving attract love, people who give energy and life to the
world around them attract energy and life from the world.

YOU ATTRACT WHAT YOU ARE


This is what the word attraction in the Law of Attrac-
tion means: you attract what you are. It follows that, other
things being equal, you can use the Law of Attraction to
bring things you want into your life. The Law of Attraction
implies that if you want something, you shouldnt focus on
the wanting; instead, focus on the thing you want, and you
will get what you want.
If, for example, you want love
dont focus on wanting love; focus on love: be positive, be
loving, and youll get love.
If you want a promotion at work
dont focus on wanting the promotion; focus on the promo-
tion itself: think of what you can do to make others want to give

10
What Is People Centricity?

you your promotion, and youll get your promotion. You might find
yourself getting promoted even higher than you imagined!
If you want money
dont focus on wanting money; focus on the money itself:
think of what you can do to make others want to pay you money,
and youll get money.
If you want beauty (in all its incarnations) in your life
dont focus on wanting beauty; focus on beauty itself: ad-
mire it, seek it, appreciate it, and youll get beauty.
If you want to be beautiful
feel and think your beauty, and you will be beautiful.
If you want sex
dont focus on wanting sex; focus on being sexy, charming,
and appreciative of sex and sexuality. Being like that will bring
sexually warm people into your life.
Strangely enough, the Law of Attraction also seems to
apply to inanimate objects.
Try this, for example: Next time youre hurrying along
a pavement in London/Paris/New York/Beijing/Moscow/Rio
de Janeiro or anywhere else, and youre desperate for a taxi,
as you rush along the pavement, of course youll be focusing
on wanting a taxi. Try not to do that. Instead, focus on your
taxi: what it might look like, what the driver will look like,
what he or she will be thinking about. Focus hard on your
taxi and a taxi will soon appear.
Sounds mystical?
Maybe it does. But try it; it works.

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Stephen Hewett

EVIDENCE OF OR FOR THE LAW OF


ATTRACTION
Why does the Law of Attraction work for inanimate
things? I wish I knew, but unfortunately I dont. Some en-
thusiastic devotees of the Law of Attraction believe it some-
how taps into fundamental energy forces that abound in the
universe. Well, maybe thats true. I studied some aspects of
physics years ago when I was training to be an aviation pi-
lot, but my studies were very much focused on the rule of
physics relating to aviation, and I definitely never noticed
energy waves being part of the syllabus, so Im not qualified
to discuss them.
Ive sometimes thought, though, that the Law of At-
traction may be a practical, everyday, macro-application of
the phenomenon known as quantum entanglement. This
is a recognised and scientifically respectable physical phe-
nomenon that occurs when pairs (or groups) of particles are
generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state
of each member must subsequently be described relative to
each other.
But again, I am not a physicist and dont know about the
phenomenon of quantum entanglement at an in-depth level,
and, even if I did, its application in the real world can only
ever be a theory.
But surely it doesnt really matter that there are some
highly complex and hard-or-impossible-to-prove-anyway
theories about how, or why, the Law of Attraction works.
What matters is that practising the Law of Attraction really

12
What Is People Centricity?

does seem to create a climate of positivity around people that


benefits the world and the people.
And if you combine People Centricity with implement-
ing the Law of Attraction in your daily life, the benefits you
can expect to enjoy will be tremendous!
Oh, and if you still doubt that the Law of Attraction is
real, let alone something that could change your life, consid-
er one absolutely indisputable piece of evidence.
That piece of evidence is the placebo effect.
Theres abundant, indeed conclusive, evidence that in
clinical tests involving patients who receive a real medicine
and patients who receive a placebo (i.e., something that looks
or even also tastes like a real medicine but isnt), the patients
who receive the placebos report, to a statistically significant
effect, that they feel better. There have, indeed, been many
cases where patients taking a placebo not only feel better but
get better as if they had taken the real medicine.
Maybe results like these shouldnt surprise us! After all,
our minds and bodies are intimately linked. For example,
Im only writing this because my brain is telling my fingers
to tap certain keys on my word-processor.
But theres more to the placebo effect than that. The
point is, the placebo effect works because it has an impact
on our whole beings and because it makes us think and feel
wellness, and that makes us feel better literally.
Thats the Law of Attraction in action!
Mighty and wondrous as the Law of Attraction is, ul-
timately, its no more than a brilliant observation: you can

13
Stephen Hewett

only really state it and marvel at it. You wont really benefit
from it until you start to put it into practice.

PUT IT INTO PRACTICE


Strangely, books about the Law of Attraction rarely tend
to offer much in the way of practical advice about applying
the law in your relationships with other people. By your
relationships, I dont just mean personal romantic relation-
ships; I mean all your relationships.
If you dont use the Law of Attraction to make your rela-
tionships with other people better, youre missing out on an
enormously important opportunity. Indeed, its in our rela-
tionships with other people that the Law of Attraction has
the most relevance.
Yet this is just what we should expect. After all, the Law
of Attraction teaches us that like attracts like, so shouldnt
you unselfishly offer consideration, caring, and unselfish-
ness to other people if you want to get it back?
And, after all, dont all human societies celebrate unself-
ish people? Dont we admire such people and feel inspired
by them?
Thats precisely what the Law of Attraction suggests will
happen. We find such unselfish behaviour attractive and in-
spiring because it makes us feel unselfish and good ourselves
and because we know, deep down, that we would like to be
like that too, and that its the best way to live.
The principles of People Centricity and the simple ideas
at the heart of the Law of Attraction, as well as sheer com-

14
What Is People Centricity?

monsense, suggest that if you behave in a selfish, socially


tribal way toward other people, then they will behave in the
same way back to you, and in this situation everyone be-
haves in a socially tribal way toward everyone else, and the
world just goes on with everyone being tribal to each other,
and the world just goes on full of people who are socially
tribal, just as it has so often in the past, with the lamentable
results that I hardly need to point out. Just look at most of
the history of humankind to date.
Fortunately, for anyone who is still alive and who wants
to stop being socially tribal in their thinking and behaviour
and to enjoy all the benefits of not being like that any more,
its not too late to change.
I end the chapters of this book with a short section enti-
tled Looking Harder at Yourself, which offers some ques-
tions and challenges to help you make the most of the ma-
terial in the chapter. Take the time to answer the questions,
at least to yourself, if not using a pen and paper. When I
present a challenge (or exercise), actually do it rather than
just think about it; as you may well know, the powers in the
doing.

LOOKING HARDER AT YOURSELF


Is your life exactly now as you want it to be?

What things do you most want that you dont have?

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Stephen Hewett

Have you worked out what you could do to help the people
who are most close to you now, or people you might meet
soon, to bring the things into your life that you want but
dont have yet?

If you want to earn more money, what can you do to help the
community or industry youre part of, or a community or
industry you might join, pay you more money?

If you want to be better liked at work, what can you do to


help people you work with like you more?

If you want to be more liked in a romantic sense by potential


romantic partners, what can you do to help potential roman-
tic partners like you more in a romantic sense?

16
2
PEOPLE CENTRICITY IN
ACTION

Lets look now at putting People Centricity into prac-


tice. The first question to ask is this: Is People Centricity all
about being nice to everyone?
No. Indeed not.
Dear Reader, People Centricity isnt a philosophy of
self-effacing saintliness. Some people are just never going
to be nice to us. Being excessively nice to them is largely a
waste of time and will only bring us disappointment, though
if you choose to treat them with kindness and consideration,
you might be able to undo some of the damage that life has
inflicted on them and has led to them not being nice, most
likely, to anyone.

THE MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL INTERACTION


So how do you decide to which people outside your tribe
you should bring People Centricity?
The answer is: the people outside your tribe to whom you
should bring People Centricity are those with whom you have or
can have a mutually beneficial interaction.

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Stephen Hewett

What do I mean by mutually beneficial interaction? I


mean that to practise People Centricity, you should naturally
and consistently care about the needs and feelings of others
with whom you have any kind of likely mutual benefit.
So when you interact with people, you should ask your-
self: is it working for me, and for the other person? Am I getting
something out of my relationship with them, something which is
meeting my objectives?
You should also ask: are they getting something out of my re-
lationship with them, something which is meeting their objectives?
Sometimes it will be clear from the outset that you have
a potential mutual benefit with someone; sometimes it will
be less clear and you need to rely on intuition.
The actual nature of the type of mutual benefit will
vary from people to people. Ultimately, only you can decide
whether the mutual benefit is one you want to pursue. But
generally though not always if you have a regular close
interaction with someone, there will be a mutually beneficial
interaction, or the situation will have the potential for that.
Yes, sometimes you will need to make an investment of
time and effort to pinpoint that mutually beneficial interac-
tion, but it will be there.
The real question is this: do you have the guts and human-
ity to explore that potential for identifying a mutually beneficial
interaction with people from outside your tribe?
Make no mistake: being willing to make that investment
of time and effort to identify a mutually beneficial interac-
tion is what separates warring and violent fools from people

18
People Centricity in Action

who live great lives according to People Centricity and the


Law of Attraction.
Look at the wars of the world, and how after the warring
people have come to their senses, they find ways of living in
peace and collaboration with peoples with whom they were
formerly warring and create societies that are worth living in.
But wouldnt it have been a whole lot better if people
could have practised People Centricity with each other with-
out having the unnecessary war to start with?
Most of us do feel some sense of caring and consider-
ation for other people, but unfortunately we often only feel
that sense of consideration very strongly for those within
our tribe. But yes, People Centricity and the Law of At-
traction emphasise that you need to extend that caring to
others beyond your tribe.
When you do extend caring beyond your tribe, the feed-
back and life enhancement you will very likely get will re-
ward you with a tremendous sense of well-being, happiness,
oneness with others, love of humanity, and hope for the fu-
ture all of which add up to a state of mind that without ex-
aggeration can be described as God-given. It is a truly peak
experience.
You shouldnt be surprised when you feel these emo-
tions. After all, when you do feel like this, you are going to
attract the same feelings from other people! Thats just what
youd expect from the Law of Attraction. Yes, the buzz you
can get from really caring about others with whom you have
a definite mutually beneficial interaction is fantastic.

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Stephen Hewett

HOW PEOPLE CENTRICITY TAKES THIS BOOK


FURTHER THAN MOST OTHER SELF-HELP
BOOKS GO
Ive often wondered why so many self-help books, de-
spite starting out with the best intentions, dont end up do-
ing much to help the reader, let alone transform the readers
life.
Most self-help books only talk about you, the reader.
They encourage readers to focus on themselves, and then the
reader wonders why, a few weeks after theyve read the book
or, say, gone on a course connected with it, their own lives
dont feel any different.
The reason is that for almost all of us, our lives are con-
nected profoundly, emotionally, and meaningfully with the
lives of others. You are not just you, the reader; you are
them as well, and if you want to be truly happy, you need
to be in harmony with the lives of them, all the significant
people in your life, too.
In Judd Apatows thought-provoking and inspiring
movie Funny People (2009), the multi-millionaire comedian
George Simmons, played by Adam Sandler, discovers that
for all his fame and millions, his indifference to other people
has made his life wretched. He has no real friends. He es-
tranged the woman who was the love of his life by foolishly
cheating on her. He indulges in empty sex with women who
only sleep with him because hes a celebrity. A potentially
fatal health problem then forces George to take a hard look
at his life. The movie dramatises his discovery that he will
only have a chance of being happy when he reconnects with

20
People Centricity in Action

others. What George Simmons discovers is that in order to


reconnect with others, he needs to make an investment of
time and effort in learning about their agenda and doing
things that express a genuine caring about their agenda.
At heart, the broader and more positive approach to
other people that People Centricity represents is indeed all
about aligning ourselves with the feelings and needs of the
people with whom we want to have a mutually beneficial
outcome in our lives. This is exactly what George Simmons
discovers.
But of course, aligning ourselves with the needs of other
people especially people outside our immediate family
takes us out of our comfort zone. And practising People Cen-
tricity sincerely can sometimes involve us in an investment
of raw emotional energy that can be difficult to make.
Yet its an investment infinitely worth making. Taking
the trouble to understand others, and doing so sincerely and
with a genuine interest in their feelings and needs, is the
first step in putting into practice the philosophy of People
Centricity.
When you implement People Centricity in your life, a
short-term investment of emotional and imaginative effort
will bring you a truly significant long-term payback.
How short term? Well, in practice, a little of People Cen-
tricity goes a long way. How far precisely it goes is up to you.
But what you can always be sure about is this: the first person
to benefit from you being broader and more positive than the usual
approach of mere social tribalism will be you.

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Stephen Hewett

People Centricity isnt a panacea for all the challenges


life may throw at us. But make no mistake, People Centricity
is a vital philosophy for your journey through life and for
the journeys through life of the people who matter to you,
both at a personal and professional level.
Ultimately, the Law of Attraction is fundamentally
morally, ethically, and emotionally neutral; but People Cen-
tricity makes it human. Understand the People Centricity
mindset and put it into practice in your life by caring about
the agenda of people beyond your tribe with whom you have
a mutually beneficial interaction, and youll give your life
the best chance of being everything you want it to be.

THE BIG PROBLEM


The big problem, though, is this
most of us dont particularly care enough about people be-
yond our immediate circle of family and close friends and dont
realize how this limits what our lives could otherwise be.
I tend to be an optimist about human nature. I think
you have moments when you feel inspired to a great love of
our fellow human beings, moments when you feel part of
the human race in a deeply moving, even transcendent, way,
sensing our kinship with each other, whether inspired by a
religion or by a moment of insight or love.
The problem is, its hard to sustain that feeling.
Why?
Because of life. Because of lifes pressures. Because of
its stresses, its demands, and because of the fact that we are

22
People Centricity in Action

all flesh-and-blood creatures living and breathing in a real


world where we need food, water, love, sex, friends, and all
the other things that are essential to us as human beings,
most of which are usually in short supply.
Yes, life too easily washes away those moments when we
feel a transcendent sense of kinship with our fellow human
beings.

RELIGION AND ITS ROLE IN ADVANCING


PEOPLE CENTRICITY
Under the circumstances, its hardly surprising religion
exists. Whether or not you believe in the existence of a deity
and have your own religious views connected with that be-
lief, youll surely accept that religion tries hard to provide its
adherents with spiritual comfort, especially in helping peo-
ple deal with what, to most people, seems the simple blatant
unfairness of the inevitability of death.
Youll also surely accept that there are many religions in
the world whose deity is different from the one you believe
in; so as religions fundamentally disagree over the precise
nature of their god, the religions cant all be right.
Though maybe the truth is that the details of what dif-
ferent religions require their adherents to believe is less im-
portant than the fact of the core impulse at the heart of the
religions.
Yes, whether or not youll accept that religions other
than your own also have good and spiritually useful things
about them is up to you, but it hardly seems unreasonable
for me to suggest that perhaps the truth of the matter is that

23
Stephen Hewett

the religious impulse is deep within the human psyche, and


that it finds different embodiments in the different religions
of the world.
Helping us cope with the fear of death is only one of
many spiritual blessings religion can confer on us. Religion
also reminds us of just how great life can be, and how great
we can feel when we truly feel a sense of kinship and love for
our fellow travellers to the grave.
The trouble is, living the religious life is difficult. Reli-
gion requires us to live by a moral and ethical code that, like
trying to stick to a diet, is easy to start with and less easy to
sustain, especially if you dont find it very sustaining.
Another problem is that organized religion, realizing
that we are at heart tribal animals, arguably itself tends to
place more emphasis on being socially tribal than on being
people-centric. Organised religion tends to place undue em-
phasis on the very act of belonging to a religious group. In-
deed, this belonging is often seen by a particular church or
religious group as more important than living the life advo-
cated by that church or group.
The reason religion puts such an emphasis on the be-
longing aspect of the religion is that religion is clearly a
creed for living ones life and so it seeks to become a kind
of family (or tribe) for its adherents. However, its not clear
to me that this emphasis which religion places on belonging
necessarily does much to advance the enormous contribu-
tion which religion can make to helping people live more
fulfilled spiritual, emotional, and social lives.

24
People Centricity in Action

Its also the case that many religions also, unfortunately,


often give power to individuals who are so obsessively tribal
in their thinking and who only believe that people within
the tribe of the religion matter, that their thinking is pos-
itively dangerous. The various forms of terrorism that are
so nastily prevalent in the world today are virulent social
tribalism. The 9/11 atrocities in New York carried out on
September 11, 2001 were enacted by people who were en-
tirely focused on their own tribal interests and indifferent
to the agenda of anyone outside that. (In saying this, I am
not in any way making a comment about Islam, that great
and eloquent religion. I am simply making a comment about
social tribalism.)
Also, one sometimes gets the impression from religions
that the people in charge are more interested in exerting
power over their followers than in doing what they should
be doing: helping their followers to live a more fulfilling,
transcendent, and spiritually intense life.
Also, because the religious life can be so difficult to live,
many people dont even try to live it, or they try for a while
and then give up. In many cases, the only significant impact
religion has on them is to make them carry with them for
the rest of their lives certain guilty feelings about not having
lived up to the demands of their religion.
I think what we really want is not a socially tribal ver-
sion of religion, but a form of religion that stresses the fun-
damental kinship of all human beings on this planet. The
Ecumenical Movement has that aim in mind, perhaps, but

25
Stephen Hewett

we are very far indeed from achieving anything like a global


form of religion.
Ironically, perhaps, the closest we have so far to a global
religion is the pursuit of money, which may be a more power-
ful unifying force that is generally realised. Of course, there
are very many socially negative points about the pursuit of
money, but at least most people have the sense to realise that
it is, in most cases, easier to make money when you are col-
laborating with people rather than fighting them. That is an
important consideration in favour of money, which, perhaps
rather than being the root of all evil, may possibly instead be
the root of much co-operation.
What we really want is to live a life where we feel emo-
tionally close to our tribe and to feel that people outside the
tribe care about us and that you care about them. The kind
of life this gives us can feel like a heaven on earth.

JESUS CHRISTS TEACHINGS AND PEOPLE


CENTRICITY
Im not a Christian in the sense of being a member of
an established Christian church. Generally, I tend to take a
secular view of Christs teaching.
That said, I absolutely love the message of heartfelt love
and social co-operation at the heart of Christianity, and I
find Jesus Christ an incredibly wise and intensely inspira-
tional figure. Of course, Christians who believe in Christs
divinity see him as much more than that, but Im sure most
of them wouldnt deny that a secular response to Jesuss
teaching and ministry also has some validity.

26
People Centricity in Action

Jesus lived in an area of the Middle East that seems to


have been as torn by bigotry and tribalism in his lifetime as it
is today. Jesus believed that a religious faith more concerned
with interpreting ancient texts than with caring about the
daily lives of real people was not a faith he could respect.
Christ emphasized as the keynote of his teaching a com-
mandment from the Old Testament: You shall love your
neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus, 19:18)
By neighbor here, the commandment clearly encom-
passed people outside the tribe. And indeed, when Jesus
Christ taught the importance of love for ones neighbor,
His teaching extended far beyond merely loving ones next
door neighbor. This was one of the many things He spoke
about specifically during the Sermon on the Mount. As He
explained in Matthew, 5:43-47:
You have heard that it was said, You shall love your
neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love
your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so
that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he
makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends
rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you
love those that love you, what reward do you have? Do
not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet
only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing
than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Thats a pithy and useful explanation of the principle at
the heart of this book: that caring only about the agenda of your
closest family and closest friends really is not enough.
When Jesus Christ said what He did about concern for
those within ones tribe not being enough, the world was far
less technologically sophisticated, far less socially complex,

27
Stephen Hewett

and much less densely populated than our own. The worlds
population at the time when Christ lived is estimated to have
been about 300 million; today the population of the world is
more than twenty times greater than that; and the differ-
ence between the communications methods of Christs day
and our communications technology today are so great that
comparisons are, in a very real sense, pointless. Most people
in developed countries, and an increasingly high proportion
of people in developing countries, can communicate with
more other people in developing and developed countries
than has ever remotely been possibly been before.
Incidentally, many non-Muslims dont realize that Je-
sus is regarded by Islam as an important prophet. Indeed,
the belief that Jesus was a prophet is required in Islam, as it
is for all prophets named in the Koran. This is reflected in
the fact that Jesus is clearly a significant figure in the Ko-
ran, where He appears in ninety-three verses; though Noah,
Adam, and Moses appear with even greater frequency.
The Koran states that Jesus was born to Mary (Maryam
in Arabic) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous
event which occurred by the decree of God (Arabic: Allah).
According to the Koran, Jesus was given the ability to per-
form miracles, such as healing the blind and bringing dead
people back to life, to help in His ministry to the Jewish
people all by the permission of God rather than of his own
power. The Koran also says that Jesus, although appearing
to have been crucified, didnt die by crucifixion or by any
other means; instead, God raised him unto Himself. Like

28
People Centricity in Action

all prophets in Islam, Jesus is considered a Muslim (that is,


one who submits to the will of God), as He preached that His
followers should adopt a straight path as commanded by
God. However, Islam rejects the Trinitarian Christian view
that Jesus was God incarnate or the Son of God, that He was
ever crucified or resurrected, or that He ever atoned for the
sins of mankind.

THE SINS OF SOCIAL TRIBALISM


Certainly, mankind or humankind has committed sins,
and most of those sins derive from social tribalism.
Indeed, in our modern world, social tribalism is even
less sufficient than it was 2,000 years ago.
The two main reasons why it is insufficient are, I think,
as follows:
The sheer complexity of our world. For most of us today, our
social and professional lives are more complex than has ever
been the case in the past, and we need a radically new ap-
proach to how we see one another. The levels of social, geo-
graphical, and professional mobility today both at a domestic
and international level are unprecedented. The possibilities
open to people today would have been close to unimaginable
to our forebears. Telecommunications and computer-deliv-
ered communications, international business life, and rapid
travel have created a world where there is an ever-increasing
awareness that the only tribe of which we are now members
is the tribe of the entire human race.

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Stephen Hewett

The increasingly complex nature of our economic and social


structures. The highly complex processes and structures un-
derlying modern society require extensive co-operation be-
tween people if they are to function successfully.

PEOPLE CENTRICITY AND ETERNAL LIFE


The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein didnt believe in
an afterlife. But he did believe this:
Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience
death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal
duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those
who live in the present.
Im not pretending I fully understand what Wittgen-
stein meant by this, but I cant help feeling he might be onto
something.
Very often, you can enjoy a similar kind of feeling of liv-
ing utterly in the present, which is indeed perhaps a way of
experiencing whateternal life feels like, by genuinely caring
about those in your immediate family circle and those be-
yond it, where you and they derive a mutual benefit.
Ultimately, People Centricity can help you to feel you
are truly living in a most exciting and absorbing present.
People Centricity, in other words, offers a way for us to
sustain that great feeling you occasionally have of transcen-
dent kinship with other human beings.

AN OBVIOUS BUT IMPORTANT POINT


We need and rely on one another!

30
People Centricity in Action

Im not saying that if you are broader and more positive


in how you see people you will feel a sense of transcendent
kinship with other people all the time. But I promise, abso-
lutely promise, that if you are people-centric you will feel
that kinship far more often than if you arent.
Why? Because People Centricity offers a sustainable, ex-
tremely easy-to-learn way to live better and to relate to oth-
ers at a more creative, more generous, and ultimately more
logical level. After all, dont we all, in truth, really need each
other?
Well, yes, we do. In fact, the truth of the matter is that
only caring about the people in our tribe is at best short-sight-
ed, and at worst completely illogical and even stupid.
Yes, stupid really isnt too strong a term to use here.
Just as the placebo effect is a plain, powerful, and ulti-
mately unarguable proof of the Law of Attraction in action,
there is also a plain, powerful, and ultimately unarguable
proof of the validity of People Centricity in action.
To see this, just think how viable a life of only caring
about yourself and your immediate friends and family would
be if you were suddenly rushed to hospital with a health cri-
sis. If that were to happen, wouldnt you hope fervently
and desperately hope, I mean that complete strangers,
people totally outside your tribe, in the medical profession
would be willing to help make you better?
Or what about the next time youre jetting off on holi-
day? Wouldnt you hope (if you thought about it at all) that
aviation engineers have made the airplane youre flying in

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Stephen Hewett

safe, that the pilot and co-pilot are competent to fly it, and
that the people who work in Air Traffic Control know just
how to tell it where to fly so that it reaches its destination
safely and so you do too?
And how many of the things around you, the things you
need in order to pursue your life, including the building
youre in right now if youre inside a building right now,
are things you fashioned yourself? Very few? None of them?
And how long would you survive or, more to the point,
would you want to survive, if you were the only living per-
son on the planet?
My point is this: our world, and the universe around it, is
composed of two elements and two elements only: the natural world
you inherit and the human world containing everything human
beings have built in the natural world, the buildings, the transport
networks, the houses, the machines, the tools, everything that other
people have built for us, or that you have built for ourselves.
Following on from this point: without other peoples efforts
on our behalf, the only things there would be in the world would
be what we made ourselves. Without the efforts of others, even
the most industrious person would have scarcely anything
to call his or her own. We are utterly reliant on the efforts
of others, the vast majority of whom are strangers to us, for
almost everything in the world we need.
Here I am, writing using a word-processor that I didnt
make, that uses computer software I didnt design, and which
prints out the results of my days efforts using a computer
printer, toner, and paper, none of which I played the slight-

32
People Centricity in Action

est part in manufacturing. My word-processor and printer


use electricity I didnt generate that originates (I think) from
coal I didnt mine or from nuclear fuel I didnt process to a
state where it is useable in a reactor I didnt design. That
electricity flows to my house though cables I didnt lay. I did
not make any of my clothes, nor anything that I see around
me in the room where I now write.
Ive done a quick count and found that my writing room
contains about 700 objects, including computer devices,
telecommunications devices, different types of documents,
books, magazines, tea-cups, furniture, a carpet, a rug, a ra-
diator, and so on and so on, none of which I made myself,
though I did produce some of the documents. Without all
these things, my writing-room would not be what it is, and
without quite a few of these things I couldnt write this book
at all.
Thinking of ourselves as (among other things) the ex-
tremely fortunate inheritors of around ten thousand years of
moderate technological progress followed by two centuries
of remarkable even close to miraculous technological
progress involves seeing ourselves as completely dependent
on other people.
Today, these other people supply the prodigiously varied
and complex chain of activity that keeps our technological
world supplied with all the software, systems and hardware
it needs to function.
Any item of technology starts out being an interesting
curiosity, but in due course it really does need to earn its

33
Stephen Hewett

living by being sold to customers. When it does, it can trans-


form the world.
Even our inheritance as citizens of, so far as we know at
present, the only high-tech world in the universe, is entirely
dependent on the vast infrastructure of advanced technolo-
gy that gives us the artefacts of our high-tech world. Imagine
taking your iPad and iPhone, or whatever digital equipment
you personally use, back a century or so in time, and see how
useless they would have been once their electrical charge
had run out!
We depend on chains of supply continuously created by
others for everything we do: for our food, drink, housing,
technology, electricity, safety everything. And of course,
when we die, we depend on others to look after our bodies
and give us a decent burial.
Yet how rarely we think of this! How rarely we think of
how dependent we are on everyone else! Western culture, in
particular, emphasises the importance of the individual, and
too readily allows us to forget how dependent we are on the
work and effort of others to create the world we live in.
The truth is that the human world is created and built
for us by people who dont have any inherent reason to care
about us personally, often because they dont know us, or
died before we were born. Of course, there will be excep-
tions, such as if you, your spouse, or one of your in-laws has
a talent for DIY, or if you have a good friendship with your
builder, carpenter, bookbinder, or whatever. But generally,
the people who make the things you use in your life dont

34
People Centricity in Action

care about you personally. If they do care its only because


theyve taken the trouble to do so.
It follows that in a world built for us by strangers, we
need to care about those strangers with whom we come into
contact in our professional and personal lives.
What Im saying here is, like everything Im saying in
this book, fundamentally simple. What Im saying is the
whole idea that the only people we should bother about and care
about are those within our tribe is not only selfish and short-sighted
but also totally illogical, when we live in a world where we all
depend on each other to get things done!
Thats one way of expressing what Im trying to say.
Heres another, more emotional and poetic, way of saying
it, from the great Elizabethan poet and churchman John
Donne. Youll probably know the final line; here is all the
relevant passage that includes it. The passage comes from a
collection of Donnes Meditations. I have retained the orig-
inal spelling, punctuation, and emphases.
No Man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece
of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed
away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a prom-
ontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am
involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
Using People Centricity, we dont need to rely on having
occasional moments of inspired feeling, moments that we
know will quickly fade, to care about others in an altruistic
way. People Centricity gives us the chance to feel like that
most of the time. It gives us an opportunity to experience

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Stephen Hewett

that oneness with others that euphoria and ecstasy at how


glorious a people-centric life is on a regular, consistent
basis!

YET PEOPLE CENTRICITY IS CALM


METHODICAL, LOGICAL, AND ULTIMATELY
SUSTAINABLE
People Centricity is, above all, a readily workable day-
to-day philosophy that doesnt rely on faith. Instead, it in-
volves aligning yourself with the needs of those with whom
you have a mutually beneficial interaction. This alignment
will make your life better, no matter how good you regard
your life as being right now. Even better, practising People
Centricity helps to make the world a better place.
You can start being people-centric today; you dont need
to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem or Mecca or anywhere else
in order to follow its philosophy. Your willingness to really
care about the needs of others is what matters. You can start
putting it into practice at once, and you can see the results.
Very possibly you do already to some extent follow the
principle of People Centricity. Maybe youve even been fol-
lowing the principle all your life, without being fully aware
of it!
But if we understand what People Centricity really is, we
can all be better at it, and gain more benefits and enjoyment
from being people-centric.
People Centricity is a kind of everyday religious philos-
ophy for today, for the world of the living, except that you
dont need to be believe in any deity in order to practise it.

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People Centricity in Action

Though of course you can still practice it if you do believe


in a deity!
Above all, People Centricity will reward you in the here
and now, not in the next life.
And if you choose not to practise People Centricity?
Well, then I think you must accept that your choice will lim-
it the quality of your life, the quality of your relationships,
and, very likely, also your career success too.
Why? Because the truth is that being tribal in how you
see your relationships severely limits what you get out of life.
It isnt a limitation caused by a health problem, though the
loneliness and negativity lack of People Centricity can bring
might easily lead to that. Nor is it a limitation caused by
financial difficulties or social deprivation, though it might
result in those, too.
No, the limitation of not having a broader and more pos-
itive approach to other people is something different, some-
thing that strikes at the very heart of who we are as people.
Its a genuine, severe and serious limitation, and the worst
thing about it is, people who suffer from it often dont realize
that they are suffering from it. They just have unsatisfactory
lives and they wonder why.
Of course, not caring enough about the needs of other
people badly affects the people whose needs arent being
cared about. But the problem has an even worse effect on the
people who are indifferent to the needs of others.

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Stephen Hewett

Why? Precisely because it limits your life. If you dont


care much about other people, other people, not unreason-
ably, wont care very much about you, either.

SO WHY ISNT PEOPLE CENTRICITY MORE


NATURAL FOR PEOPLE?
At this point it would be reasonable to ask a very reason-
able question: why are more people not more naturally aware of
the immense importance of the people in their lives who are outside
their tribe and yet with whom they have mutually beneficial inter-
actions?
I think these are the reasons why not:
5 they cant be bothered to make even the relatively
small investment of time and energy that People
Centricity requires;
5 they find it fundamentally difficult to understand
and share the feelings of people beyond their tribe.
Certainly, caring about the agenda of someone be-
yond your tribe requires imagination and may re-
quire you to discard certain social, historical, and
cultural preconceptions that may be hampering you;
5 they dont want to put their own agenda to one side,
even for a short time;
5 they dont want to think ahead to the mutually ben-
eficial outcome that they might enjoy with another
person;
5 they dont appreciate the downside of not caring
about people beyond their tribe, namely that if you
are completely selfish and dont bother to invest time

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People Centricity in Action

in being people-centric, you will feel worse later, and


may end up never knowing how great life can really
be. People are often, indeed usually, dismally short-
term and unimaginative in how they see their future
interactions with other people.

PEOPLE CENTRICITY AND SHOWING


APPRECIATION TO PEOPLE
There is an important, dynamic relationship between
People Centricity and wanting people to feel appreciated.
People enjoy feeling appreciated because life usually
doesnt make them feel like that. Life is difficult. Social life
is complicated. Friendship and love can seem easy and bliss-
fully enjoyable, especially at the start of a new friendship
or romance. But the relationships created by friendship and
love are by no means always easy in the medium-term or
long-term, because by definition a relationship (whether or
not a romantic one) exists between individuals, and there is
always likely to be tension between what these two individ-
uals want for themselves and what they want for the rela-
tionship, which is a kind of third entity they create together.
Even getting a job is hard, let alone a job you like; and
when youve got the job, keeping it and enjoying it is chal-
lenging and can also be difficult. Many people dont espe-
cially like their job, and feel that their real lives only resume
when they get home after finishing for the day.
Even family and friends we would see as within our tribe
can be intensely disappointing. They often give the impres-
sion of hardly caring about our own needs and agenda at all.

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Stephen Hewett

When you talk to them and need their support, they usually
focus on our problems more in terms of their own needs and
feelings rather than ours. Even our families can be disap-
pointing in this respect.
So being appreciated is something people really appre-
ciate. Thats fairly obvious, but just because something is
fairly obvious, doesnt mean it isnt worth thinking about.

THE UNFORTUNATE RISE OF BAD MANNERS


AND INSULTING BEHAVIOUR IN OUR
SOCIETY
Unfortunately, most people have yet to discover the joys
of People Centricity, or what their lives will be and feel like
if they become people-centric.
Too many peoples interactions rarely feature anything
much in the way of caring about people outside their tribe.
Indeed, today, society often seems to encourage rudeness
and inconsiderate behavior. Several highly popular TV pro-
grammes in the US and in Europe delight in having author-
ity figures who exult in being rude and unpleasant to people
placed in subordinate positions. Some of these programmes
are set in the kitchens of celebrity chefs; others are set in the
world of entertainment and include talent shows.
Audiences and program makers evidently feel that
these programs make good TV. Still, there was once a time
when gladiatorial contests and public executions were re-
garded as family entertainment.
I dont know what has caused this rise in bad manners,
insulting behaviour, and general crassness, but I think its a

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People Centricity in Action

trend we can do without, for uncivilised behaviour under-


mines civilisation.
It also works completely against the notion of People
Centricity, creates discord and pain and hampers creativity.
So dont be like that. Instead, show appreciation to peo-
ple and focus on their positive aspects. After all, if you do
that, maybe they will then focus on the positive aspects of
you!
But the appreciation you show to other people is only
going to be meaningful if you show your appreciation sin-
cerely. Indeed, nothing about being people-centric can be
insincere. It all needs to be genuine, to be real, to be sincere-
ly felt.
When I used to teach people to fly, I always took great
care to understand whom the individual was who I was
teaching, what their background was, what was important to
them, why they wanted to learn to fly, and ultimately, what
benefit they were going to get out of it. That way I could
better understand how to approach teaching them, what was
important to them, and what they needed to learn.
Of course, as well as understanding what was important
to them, there was a great responsibility on me, as the cap-
tain of the aircraft, to make sure that the training session was
safe, and that it achieved what they needed and what they
wanted out of the session.
When youre practising a profession, you take it for
granted that you will particularly in professions, say, like
medicine or aviation, where you are literally responsible for

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Stephen Hewett

peoples lives practise it with a level of competence and


professionalism which is, in a sense, actually indifferent to
particular customers, or your patients or your passengers,
and this is a form of People Centricity, because your profes-
sionalism makes you want to look after all your customers,
even if you dont know them at all.
Generally, in everyday life, its quite easy to be peo-
ple-centric. You can practise People Centricity with peo-
ple you buy things from in shops, waiters or waitresses in
restaurantsits actually quite easy. People dont normally
do it, because they cant be bothered. All the same, it is quite
easy. In longer-term and deeper relationships in ones life,
its more of a challenge,
The nature of those long-term relationships is generally
more complex, so there are more things to understand, more
of the other persons agenda to get underneath, more things
to work out so you can best align what you need with what
they need, to get the right result. In the case of a long-term
relationship, being people-centric is pretty well a constant
process, on a daily basis, but its obviously very different
from a fifteen-minute interaction with a waiter or waitress.
Also, the interaction with a waiter or waitress in a restau-
rant does not carry any potential threat: you can be nice to
the person and make their day by being nice and courteous
to them, rather than just treating them as if they didnt exist.
But when you get home, and your teenage son wants to do
something with his life which you dont really approve of,
and yet you realise theyre trying to get separation from you

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People Centricity in Action

which is actually essential for their psychological and de-


velopmental wellbeing there is a challenge. If he says, for
example, Dad, I was going to follow you into your profes-
sion, but Im not interested; I want to travel for two years,
that will hurt you to some extent. You may have to mask that
feeling of hurt by thinking, Let him travel for a couple of
years. When he comes home, hell have sown his wild oats
and he will then, hopefully, perhaps be more interested in
having a career. Thats the point, isnt it? People Centricity
is more difficult when it actually presents you with an emo-
tional threat.
In such circumstances, you will be particularly acutely
aware of what People Centricity is all about.

LOOKING HARDER AT YOURSELF


Define what community means to you. Is it the communi-
ty of your friends beyond your immediate family? Is it the
small village or hamlet that you live in? Is it the street you
live on in a big city? Or is it the people that you interact with
on a social basis?

Look at how you spend your time over a week or a month


and think: how much of this time do you spend with your
immediate family? How much of this time do you spend
with your work community? How much of this time do you
spend with other communities? And then use these insights
to help you define and understand which communities you

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Stephen Hewett

actually engage with, because in reality you are probably go-


ing to have several different ones you engage with.

Sit down and work out: Who do you interact with? Where
is the focus of that community that you engage with? You
might conclude, for example, that you spend thirty percent
of your time with your family; you spend thirty percent of
your time with your work colleagues and you spend the re-
maining amount of your time with neighbors, charities, and
so on.

Work out what the mutual benefit is to you of the people


you regularly interact with in your tribe and also the mutual
benefit of people you interact with outside your tribe. In par-
ticular, look at new ways of maximising the potential mutual
benefit you have with people outside your tribe: the mutual
success of your interactions with them will define how suc-
cessfully you are practising People Centricity.

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